Xactimate - Drone - Processes - Help?


Disclosure: I’m extremely new to xactimate. :sweat_smile:

Looking into some process changes with our company. Let me rephrase that: Looking to put processes in place period. :joy:

Thinking about having my guys take aerial drone photos at the initial inspection of the roof. In my mind, this will:

-Cut way back on time spent measuring. Way back.
-Eliminate the problem with being unable to pull an eagleview or geomni.

But only if, these photos are somehow able to be used to sketch in Xactimate. Is this possible? If so, how? Aerial Sketch?

After the photos are taken, they’ll be brought back to the office for the inhouse adjuster to produce an estimate to bring back to the meeting with the insurance adjuster.

On a separate note, what are some of your processes that help you maximize profits and streamline?


You can go up the max height of 400’ and take a drone image. You’ll need one calibration measurement. I like a long gutter run on the lowest level of the roof. You can use a program like RoofSnap to import the image and sketch the roof. That’s what we do. Extremely accuratem


How do you take your roofsnap into xactimate? Is there a reason you use roofsnap over Aerial Sketch in xactimate?
Don’t I also need the pitches?


I have macros in xactimate set up. I ruin the macro and manually enter data I get from Roofsnap. Roofsnap won’t export into xactimate.


All complete jibberish to me, the macro thing. But it sounds good! :slight_smile:
Does Aerial Sketch in Xactimate not do the same thing as roofsnap?


I’ve never used the Xactimate aerial sketch tool.


We’re old school and actually get our asses out of the truck and get up and measure the dam roof! You’re in the “Roofing” business for god sake. If you’re not accurate with an actual tape measure, learn to get better! Your flipping drone is not as good as boots on the roof, where you can see bad siding, jacked up snow pans, soft decking, etc. drones make pretty poctures to help non roofer woo unsuspecting homeowners and turn every swinging Dick into a “roofing” salesman. But teach you nothing about your trade!!!
Rant over.


I have a new hero! Where were you a couple weeks ago when this homeowner was trying to lead the charge with new roofing technology like nail guns with cameras and gps.? :wink:


All technology that helps us do our job easier and better is great! However, it should be seen as a tool, not a crutch!

Beacon supply has a new 3-D tool that allows you to measure the roof by simply taking eight pictures from the ground. They had roofers that actually told them they didn’t like it because with the 3-D tool they would actually have to go to the house, and with eagle view they don’t have to.

This is what I mean by a crunch. We have people selling roofs that know very damn little but actually Roofing, but may have decent product knowledge. Eagleview, exacta mate, and subcontract labor, can make a roofing company or a roofing salesman out of any idiot on the street. It makes the roofing industry neither labor-intensive or capital intensive and therefore makes it less profitable. Far more mistakes were made on jobs by these type of companies and these types of salesman because they truly didn’t know a problem existed on the roof because they never got on it.


Kprart we do a ton of business with a beacon distributor, what is their measuring tool called?. First I heard they had one out there, I know gaf or somebody had one like that out there.


Beacon 3D+
Works pretty good. It’s private labeled version of some else’s software I believe


Hover is the base company for the 3D roof sketches. They can provide full 3D house models if you need siding, gutter, window, etc. takeoffs. They private label for GAF and apparently, Beacon.

Kpratt, you’re welcome to your opinion of course. But I’ll compare our profits and Customer satisfaction ratings to yours any day. I don’t totally disagree with you either but it is very difficult to do high volume with your business model as it is next to impossible to hire that quantity of blue collar sales reps and roof crews.


I don’t really need to compare anything. If you are happy with you margins, that’s all that’s important. We run a pretty large volume of business, and we use sub-contract crews but company employees for service staff. It works ok if you stay on top of the crews, however…it’s not optimal in my opinion. But with today’s youth and the work ethic they lack, I would agree that fielding the 15 to 20 crews needed would be tough. We have however decided to start that long process and start setting up and training “in house” crews. We had them in the 70s and 80s, and it can be done again! It will just take several years to accomplish. But ya gotta start sometime right?


Oh, and as for salesman. They are all in house employees with befefits and company trucks, phones, gas, etc. they are paid a combination of salary plus commission.
We do use the beacon app and eagle view on occasion, but as a tool on steep nasty houses,or when the weather won’t allow boots on the roof. Not as our primary measuring method! And on new construction we use PDF prints verified in the field. For me job one of any roofing company is…know what to hell it is your roofing! Humans looking at the roof is only way to properly accomplish Job #1
Just my 42 years in the biz opinion.


It really depends on your business model. 90% of our residential work is older homes 50-200+ years old. For us an eagle view alone just doesn’t cut it. If you are doing re-roofs on 20-30 year old development houses that’s a different story.

When dealing with older buildings, with the possibility of multiple layors, shingles over cedar, replacing flashings, and sheet metal work you can’t accurately bid the job without on-site measurements.


With rare exceptions, we don’t quote any job without an onsite inspection. The onsite inspectors take all pitch measurements, perimeter and roof damage pictures and fill out a roof inspection sheet. We mostly use RoofSnap (with NearMap aerial images) to get the takeoffs and create a roof report. I believe overall, it is just as accurate as hand measurements. The majority of our business is the higher end market with the primary pitches 10 to 14 in 12, multi levels and 16 facets plus. It would be silly to attempt to measure most of these by hand.

The rare exception is somebody that calls and is looking for a budgetary estimate or is clearly a tire kicker. Assuming I can get a decent enough view to accurately estimate the pitches, I’ll throw a budgetary only bid out from time to time. Less than 10 per year. If in fact we win one of these, or get asked back for a more accurate bid, we will visit to the property for a proper inspection. I don’t think we’ve ever bid and accepted a contract sight unseen. Can’t imagine doing that.


I resemble that remark!


Lol. Yep, not many people in this biz these days that actually roofed anymore. Sorry to say